Category Archives: Food (Pagkain)

Buko Halo-Halo

Buko Halo-Halo with all the awesome goodness-gracious bunch of sweets!


Buko Halo-halo with ice cream toppings.

A pile of buko from a food court stall that specialized in making the Buko Halo-Halo 

Buko is a young coconut fruit that is very popular as an instant refreshing food/drinks.  It can be easily bought from a roving cart vendors to food/drink stalls or expensive restaurants.

Halo-Halo (from the word “halo” which means “mix” in English) is a popular and a favorite Filipino dessert or snacks that is a mixture of shaved ice and evaporated milk to which are added various boiled sweet beans, sweet potato, kaong, gelatin, sago, etc and fruits (banana, langka, etc) and served in a tall glass or bowl topped with any of ube jam, leche flan or ice cream.

Buko Halo-Halo is a halo-halo mixture served in coconut shell together with the young coconut meat.  It is usually served showing the colorful contents on the top. It is quite popular during the hot summer months but it is being sold all year round.

The Buko Halo-Halo photos here were taken during my two-week vacation to the two big cities in the southern part of the Philippines.  The first photo is from a popular Buko Halo Halo stall while the second photo is from a popular local restaurant that specialized in broiled chicken.  The buko halo halo is their best selling desert.  I can’t remember how many times we have this delight in different food hubs.

Here’s a recipe of Buko Halo-Halo that I got from the net.


1 Whole buko, shred the meat
crushed ice to the coconut shell
6 tablespoons kaong
6 tablespoons nangka (jackfruit)
6 tablespoons macapuno (a variety of coconut meat sold in bottles)
6 tablespoons sweetened kidney beans
6 tablespoons sweetened garabanzos
6 tablespoons sweetened saba
6 tablespoons ube or yam
6 leche flan
3 tablespoon pinipig
6 tablespoons corn kernels
½ evaporated milk
a scoop of ice cream on top
sugar (optional)


1.Wash the buko shell and open it on the top using the sharp bolo.
2. Shred the coconut meat and separate.
3. Put an ice in the empty coconut shell.
4. Put all the sweetened ingredients on top.
5. Lastly put a scoop of ice cream on top






Bukayo is a very sweet delicacy that is very popular especially for kids.  It is made from young gelatinous coconut (buko) simmered in water and white or brown sugar.  During the early days it is usually eaten after meal as a desert, but the younger generations eat them just like the common “junk foods”.

The jar of bukayo in this photo is taken from a “Sari Sari” store (convenience store) in the neighborhood in a province wherein you can buy it at PhP 1.00 per piece.  However in the city, it is very rare to buy a bukayo per, piece they are selling it per pack.  It can also be found in high end supermarkets but the price is more expensive.

Here’s one Bukayo recipe that I got from the net:


  • 2 coconuts
  • 1 kg brown sugar
  • young coconut juice (buko juice)
  • all purpose flour or corn starch


  1. Boil together the buko juice and sugar until sugar dissolves completely and mixture thickens.
  2. Cook grarted coconut in a pan with a little oil until it turns slightly brown.
  3. Add syrup and thicken with a little flour or cornstarch diluted in water.
  4. Keep stirring so that syrup coats the grated coconut completely, mixture thickens and bukayo gets cooked completely.
  5. When cooked, transfer bukayo to a bowl.
  6. Form into small balls while hot.
  7. Use plastic wrap or wax paper to cushion your hands from the hot bukayo.

Suman at Halaya

Christmas Eve (Noche Buena)


New Year’s Eve (Media Noche)


Suman at Halaya is another pair of Christmas holiday food that Filipinos habitually eat together like the “Bibingka and Puto Bumbong”.  The first photo is taken from our Christmas eve table (Noche Buena) while the second photo is taken from our New Year’s eve table (Media Noche).  Both delicacies are sticky so Filipinos traditionally have them in their table especially during New Year’s eve because of the (funny) belief that sticky foods make the luck sticks as well.  Some seriously believe this, some for fun but most have them because they are just simply delightfully good to eat.

The suman and Halaya in the first photo were bought from the local (commercial) market while the Suman and Halaya in the second photo are “home made”.  “Home made” here means that I personally know who cooked the suman and halaya.  The suman is from a neighbor who is known for making and selling suman in our neighborhood.  while the halaya is from a friend who especially brought it from Laguna – a provincial town just outside the city. 

Suman can be simply called as a “sticky rice in banana leaf”, while Halaya is an “ube jam”.  Suman comes in variety but the most popular during the holiday season is the plain one.  Here are some recipes of these two delicacies that I got from the net.

Suman sa Ibus (Simple Recipe)

* 3 cups malagkit rice
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 2 cups thick coconut milk

Cooking Instructions
1). Soak malagkit in water for an hour or until grains are swollen. Drain.
2). Add salt and coconut milk. Mix well.
3). Prepare ibus then fill with rice mixture. Seal tubes and tie with strips of the ibus.
4). Arrange the suman in a big saucepan and cover with water. Cover the pot and
boil for 2 hours or until cooked.

How to wrap a Suman Sa Ibus:
* Fold the end of the buri leaf by 1 ½ inches.
* Fold the bottom edge into a triangle.
* Start rolling up the buri leaf in an overlapping manner.
* Roll up the buri to make a tube.
* Attach a small piece of wooden pick to secure the tube.
* Fill the tube with malagkit.
* Seal the ibus tube.
* Tie with strips of buri.

Ube Halaya Recipe


  • 1 kilo ube yam root
  • 1 can (14 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 2 cans (12 ounces) condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla (optional)

Cooking Instructions:

  1. On a pot, boil the unpeeled ube yam in water and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain and let cool.
  2. Peel and finely grate the ube yam.
  3. Heat a big wok in medium heat.
  4. Melt butter or margarine, add the condensed milk and vanilla flavoring. Mix well.
  5. Add the 1 kilo grated ube yam,
  6. Adjust the heat to low
  7. Keep on mixing the ingredients for about 30 minutes or until sticky and a bit dry (but still moist).
  8. Add the evaporated milk and continue to mix for another 15 minutes.
  9. Let cool and place on a large platter.
  10. Refrigerate before serving the halayang ube.

Cooking Tips:

  • You may spread additional butter or margarine on top of the jam before serving.
  • For the sweet toothed, sprinkle a little sugar on top of the jam after placing on the large platter.
  • Instead of manually grating the ube, you may cut it in cubes and use a blender to powderized the ube.


  • 1 kilo ube, boiled and grated
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups evaporated milk
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • butter for greasing


  1. In a thick-bottomed pan, combine grated ube, coconut milk, evaporated milk and sugar.
  2. Cook over medium fire until very thick.
  3. Stir constantly to prevent sticking.
  4. Mold in greased pans. Cool.


  1. Prepare 3 cups of mashed ubi, or powdered ubi mixed with water.
  2. Blend this together with one cup of evaporated milk, 1 tablespoon of margarine, 1/2 cup of wheat flour and 2 cups of sugar.
  3. Cook over low heat, and stir constantly for 25 minutes.
  4. Before removing from heat, add lemon rind.
  5. Place in a small bottles and seal tightly. Only a couple of hundred pesos worth of ingredients are needed to produced six small bottles of marketable halaya.

Puto Bumbong


Puto bumbong derives from the words “puto” (steamed glutinous rice) and “bumbong” (bamboo canon or cylinder).

Puto Bumbong like Bibingka is a traditional Christmas food usually being sold outside of churches during the Christmas season after Simbang Gabi. (Misa de Gallo / Dawn Mass) and Pinoys  habitually eat these two rice cakes together.

Puto Bumbong looks quite unique than the other Philippine Rice cakes because of its purple color and its thin long shape.  The shape is the result from the process of cooking it from the bamboo tube where it is named after, while the color comes from the violet rice called “pirurutong”.  It is served with margarine, sugar and grated coconut and like bibingka, it is served hot.


The lansungan or a specially made steamer is constructed with two protruding tubes on a kettle like shaped steamer. The tubes are for holding the bamboo tubes filled with the puto bumbong mixture in order for the steam to pass through


It takes only seconds for the puto bumbong to cook and the speed at which it is done is almost as fascinating as the taste.

Here’s one “How to Make Puto Bumbong” that I got from a Filipino Recipe page from the web.


  • 1 cup glutinous rice
  • 2 tsp purple food color (ube)
  • 2 cups water
  • panutsa (sugar cane sweet) or mascuvado (raw sugar)


  • knife
  • muslin cloth
  • sifter or strainer
  • 2 pcs bamboo tube (bumbong)
  • steamer for making puto
Puto Bumbong Cooking Instructions:
  • Soak glutinous rice in water overnight.

  • Grind the soaked rice.

  • Mix food color while the glutinous rice is being ground.

  • Wrap the ground glutinous rice on a piece of muslin cloth and place it in a strainer to drain excess liquid. Another technique in draining excess liquid is by pressing a heavy object that has been placed over the muslin cloth.

  • Once the ground rice has slightly dried, rub it against the screen of a strainer to produce coarse grained rice flour.

  • The rice flour for making puto bumbong is now ready to cook.

  • Fill each bamboo tube (bumbong) with just enough glutinous rice and put them into the steamer. See to it that the steamer contains boiling water.

  • Steam rice flour in the bamboo tubes for 10 minutes.

  • Once cooked, shake out the contents of each bamboo tube or remove the cooked glutinous rice from the bumbong with the help of a knife.

  • Spread butter on the puto bumbong and place a small piece of panutsa (sugar cane sweets) or 1 tbsp. of mascuvado (raw Sugar)

  • Add a small amount of grated coconut before serving.

Bibingka (Traditional Christmas Rice Cake)


Bibingka is a traditional Christmas food usually being sold outside of churches during the Christmas season after Simbang Gabi / Misa de Gallo (Dawn Mass) along with the “Puto Bumbong”. The Bibingka in this photo is newly cooked topped with margarine and salted duck egg.  It comes along with a grated coconut and a free hot tea.  I bought this just outside a church right after the eight Dawn Mass (Simbang Gabi / Misa de Gallo) at PhP 50.00 (US$ 1.19). 

The price of Bibingka depends on the ingredients and toppings.  The basic ingredients are rice, flour and milk, or coconut milk or water. The common toppings are butter or margarine and salted duck eggs.  It looks like a spongy cake that is usually charred on both surface and infused with the unique smell of toasted banana leaves which makes it more appetizing.  It is best served hot.

Busy time for Bibingka vendors selling just outside the Sta. Clara de Montefalco Parish Church during the sixth Dawn Mass. 


A charming and funny signage posted in a stall of a Bibingka vendor.  I took this photo after the third Dawn Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish Church. The price of Bibingka here is PhP 30.00 (US$ 0.71) only.


Today, there are more modern ways of cooking Bibingka such as baking them in actual oven in an ordinary cake pans, but the Pinoys (Filipino) still prefer the traditional way of  cooking Bibingka in a terra cotta pot lined with banana leaves atop a charcoal stove.

Siling Labuyo (Chili Pepper)




Siling Labuyo or Chili Pepper (Scientific Name: Capsicum frutescens) is a common backyard plant in the Philippines especially in the province.  Its plant growing to a height of 0.8 to 1.5 meters only, thus the city people or those who doesn’t have a garden or extra lot can cultivate them in a flower pot.   The leaves (dahon ng sili) are known source of iron and calcium and Filipinos use them as vegetable and a popular ingredient to Filipino dishes such as “tinola” and “monggo”. 

The pepper fruit (sili) grows numerously per one stem and are in bright red when ripe.  It grows to 1.5 to 2.5 cm long.  Filipinos believe that the smaller and the brighter the red color of the pepper fruit is, the stronger the chili taste is.  Filipinos love to eat them raw like crushing them in vinegar sauce or mix them with other condiments or make them into chili sauce.  They also mix them in dishes especially with “ginataan” and to almost all kinds of appetizers.  They are most popular in the Bicol Region.

These photos are taken from my sister’s backyard in my provincial home.  My sister grows the Siling Labuyo plants along with the camote crops, malunggay, pandan and other backyard plants and harvest them for daily cooking use.  She said that she just threw some dried pepper to scatter the seeds in the backyard and the pepper plants grow by themselves.  The Siling Labuyo are just annual or short-lived perennial plants. The pungent smell of the Siling Labuyo can be smelled in the air while I’m taking these photos and my husband and son were picking the pepper berries.  We brought a bag of fresh Siling Labuyo to our city home and I made it into a chili sauce.  In the province you can ask a handful of siling labuyo for free from your neighbors where they grow in abundance.  In the city, a few grams of the Siling Labuyo costs around PhP10.00 (US$0.24).

Green Mangoes from a Roving Vendor


These green mangoes are in abundance during the summer season in the Philippines specifically during the month of March.  They are crunchy and very sour and traditionally eaten with anything that is salty like shrimp paste (bagoong na alamang) or salt with lots of red hot pepper (siling labuyo).  Green mango is popularly known as a craving food for women who are in their  early stage of pregnancy (paglilihi), and also a popular appetizer served plainly or as a salad.

The  green mangoes in this photo are from a roving vendor who sells them in a crowded and very popular park in Manila.  Roving vendors carrying this scale-like basket in their shoulders  filled with fresh looking green mangoes are common sight in crowded places.   During the peak season these green mangoes are priced around PhP20.00 (US$0.48) –  PhP30.00 (US$0.71) per piece.  However during off season these green mangoes are priced much higher, from PhP50.00 (US$1.19) – PhP60.00 (US$1.43) per piece and can only be bought from high end supermarkets, restaurants and bars.

In this photo a used bottle with water can be seen beside the mangoes.  It is for the purpose of washing the peeled mango but it is seldom needed because the vendors are very expert in peeling the mango without their bare hands touching the peeled mango.  While being peeled the mango is inserted into a small plastic bag to avoid the vendor from touching the peeled mango.  The same plastic bag is given to the customer so he can carry along and eat the mango while strolling in the park.

Hotdog Pandesal

better than the ordinary hotdog bun

A better alternative to an ordinary hotdog bun.  It is baked in the ingredients of the breakfast pandesal (yeast-raised bread).  The bread crumbs are perfect to crunch along with the sandwich dressing.  Can be bought from any ordinary bakery in the neighborhood at PhP10.00/3pcs (US$0.24/3pcs).